Exercise headaches


Exercise headaches can happen during or right after a long, arduous workout. Running, rowing, tennis, swimming, and weightlifting are a few sports that can cause headaches after exercising.

Exerciserelated headaches are divided into two groups by medical professionals. Primary exercise headaches are typically not harmful, unrelated to any underlying conditions, and frequently treatable with medicine.

Secondary exercise headaches are brought on by an underlying, frequently serious issue in the brain, such hemorrhage or a tumor, or an external issue, like coronary artery disease. Secondary exercise headaches may need immediate medical treatment.


Primary exercise headaches

These type of headaches:

  • Often characterized as throbbing
  • Manifest following or during vigorous physical activity
  • In the majority of instances, impact both sides of the head.

Secondary exercise headaches

These type of headaches manifest:

  • Have the same symptoms as primary exercise headaches
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Stiffed neck

Primary exercise headaches can last anywhere from five minutes to 48 hours, while secondary exercise headaches often stay at least a day and occasionally even longer.

Consult your doctor if you have a headache while exercising or just after. If the headache starts suddenly or if it’s your first headache of this kind, call your healthcare professional straight immediately.


Primary exercise headaches

The exact origin of primary exercise headaches remains uncertain. One theory suggests that intense physical activity leads to the widening of blood vessels within the skull.

Secondary exercise headaches

Secondary exercise headaches are brought on by an underlying condition like:

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding between the brain and the delicate membranes covering the brain.
  • A blood vessel within or going to the brain that is abnormal
  • Brain tumors 
  • Impediment to the flow of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Infection of the sinus
  • Abnormalities in the head, neck, or spine’s structural integrity

Risk factors

Exercise headaches may be more likely to occur if you exercise on high altitude, scorching weather, or if you have a family member or personal history of migraine.